Jury awards $2.6 million in asbestos case

April 04, 2003|BY A SUN STAFF WRITER

A Baltimore Circuit Court jury's decision yesterday awarded $2.6 million to the wife of a 67-year-old Pasadena man who died of lung disease in 2001 - the result of exposure to asbestos while working during his college days as a summer employee in the Coast Guard yard at Curtis Bay.

After five hours of deliberation, jurors decided that Barbara Hunter should receive $4.2 million for wrongful death, but it was reduced to $600,000 under a state law mandating a limit of $600,000.

The jurors awarded $2 million for damage to her marital relationship.

Her husband, Harry Hunter, developed mesothelioma from asbestos exposure in 1956 when he worked as an electrician for 33 days at the Curtis Bay yard, the plaintiffs' lawyers said in the lawsuit filed against Owens-Illinois, a Toledo, Ohio-based company.

The legal team from the law firm of Peter G. Angelos argued that Hunter was heavily exposed to Kaylo, an asbestos covering once used to insulate steam pipes.

"Mr. Hunter suffered an excruciating, brutal, unnecessary death," lead attorney Gary J. Ignatowski said last night.

Scott Patrick Burns, an attorney for the company, said it would appeal the decision.

Burns said no ships were at the yard that would have required the use of Kaylo while Hunter was there, and that there was no evidence that the company's product was the sole cause of Hunter's illness.

Mrs. Hunter declined to comment on the case last night.

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